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Full text of "My Country And My People"

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WOMAN'S  LIFE                     143

represent the feminine but the idea of liberty, he is still more
shocked. Why should Liberty be represented by a woman?
And why should Victory and Justice and Peace be represented
by women? The Greek ideal to him is new. For in the West
man's imagination has somehow deified woman and conferred
on her a spiritual, ethereal quality, representing all that is
pure, noble, beautiful and unearthly.

To a Chinese, a woman is a woman, who does not know how
to enjoy herself. A Chinese boy is told that he cannot grow up
if he passes under a woman's trousers on the washing-line. The
idea of worship of a woman on a pedestal and the exposure of
woman's body are therefore manifestly impossible. With the
seclusion of women, the exposure of the female form, both in
art and in everyday life, seems indecorous to the extreme, and
some of the masterpieces of Western painting in the Dresden
Gallery are definitely classed under the category of porno-
graphy. The fashionable modern Chinese artists who are
aping the West dare not say so, but there are Continental
artists who frankly admit the sensuous origin of all art and
make no secret of it.

But the Chinese libido is there, only dressed in a different
expression. Women's dress is not designed to reveal the body of
the human form but to simulate nature. A Western artist may
see, through the use of his sensuous imagination, a female nude
form in the rising sea waves, while a Chinese sees in the
draperies of the Goddess of Mercy the sea waves themselves.
The whole rhythm of a woman's form is modelled after the
graceful rhythm of the weeping willows, which accounts for
her intentionally drooping shoulders. Her eyes suggest the
apricot, her eyebrows the crescent moon, the light of her eyes
the silent waters of an autumn lake, her teeth are like the seeds
of pomegranate, her waist like the weeping willows, her fingers
like the spring bamboo-shoots and her bound feet again like
the crescent moon. Such poetic expressions are by no means
absent in the West, but the whole spirit of Chinese art, and the
pattern of Chinese women's dress in particular, justify the
taking of such expressions seriously. For woman's body, as
body, the Chinese have no appreciation. We see very little of
it in art. Chinese artists fail dismally in the portrayal of the